The Chef’s Council: bringing haute cuisine to dysphagia cooking 

Nutricia formed the Chefs’ Council: a unique partnership of dysphagia experts (including healthcare professionals, patients and carers), as well as world-class chefs, who work together to improve quality of life for patients who have been diagnosed with swallowing difficulties. The Council’s ultimate aim is to improve the dining experience of dysphagia patients by developing dysphagia diets that include foods and drinks which are not only safe and nutritious, but appetizing too.

Try the minced beef or Bolognese sauce recipe

Preparing food for someone with dysphagia becomes easier with practice. Try this quick and simple minced beef or Bolognese sauce recipe to help learn the basic skills when cooking for someone with dysphagia. 

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What is the Dysphagia Act?

Experts from across Europe met at the first Chefs’ Council meeting in Barcelona in 2017 and have since worked together to develop recipes to inspire and inform chefs and carers involved in preparing dysphagia meals, whether in hospitals and institutions, or at home. They have also jointly developed, and pledged to implement, the guiding principles of the Dysphagia Act.

It is the fundamental belief of the Chef’s Council that patients with dysphagia deserve to enjoy mealtimes, so their quality of life can be maintained as much as possible. No matter whether they are in hospital, a care facility or at home, tasty, nutritious food has the power to transform patient lives. This conviction is central to the work of the Chefs’ Council and the development of the Dysphagia Act – a collective movement towards providing better food for patients – contributing to encouraging healthier eating and drinking habits. 

The Dysphagia Act is founded on three key principles

SAFETY: People with dysphagia need food and drinks of a specific consistency in order to swallow safely. Ensuring a safer food experience also means effective handwashing, kitchen cleanliness and appropriate food storage.

NUTRITION: Good nutrition has an important role in the survival, recovery and wellbeing of people with dysphagia. Diets should be nutritionally balanced and include a wide variety of food and drinks.

PLEASURE: Eating an enjoyable meal is everyone's right, and providing pleasure through food and drink is a priority for chefs and carers. Taste, smell and presentation are key factors in achieving a pleasurable food experience.

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Dysphagia Connect: Nutricia's support from diagnosis and beyond

A diagnosis of dysphagia can be a worrying time for all concerned. Many with dysphagia, and those who care for them, may be unsure how to cope with new ways of preparing food and drinks in the days and weeks following diagnosis.

For this reason and with support from the Chef’s Council, Nutricia have developed a program called 'Dysphagia Connect'. As well as an introduction to dysphagia, what it is and what it means for the patient and carer, the program includes a beautifully presented instructional cookbook that guides the user from the very basics of dysphagia cooking, all the way through to expert level dishes and drinks. The book also includes detailed information on safety, preparation and presentation of texture-modified dishes and drinks.

Download the Dysphagia Connect Booklet

This guide has been created with support from The Chef’s Council, a group of international experts dedicated to improving the quality of food and drinks for people with dysphagia and those who care for them.

Download Dysphagia Connect Booklet
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Stroke and dysphagia: an introduction

A stroke is a serious health event caused by a disruption of the blood supply to a part of the brain. Distressing for both the patient and their family, a stroke can result in problems with movement and balance, as well as a swallowing difficulty known as 'dysphagia’. Dysphagia, which affects around half of stroke patients[1], can not only be an uncomfortable and sometimes painful condition, but a potentially a dangerous one too, with patients at risk of choking and of developing lung problems such as pneumonia.

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Dysphagia and its impact on eating and drinking

Swallowing difficulties such as dysphagia can lead to increased anxiety at mealtimes. The risk of accidently inhaling drinks or food can lead to loss of enjoyment when eating or drinking. Some patients will reduce their fluid and food intake out of worry; the levels of malnutrition and dehydration in dysphagia patients are high and can negatively impact the recovery process. An effective and widely used way of managing dysphagia is to change the consistency and texture of food and drinks.